World Champion Milorad Cavic Named Interim Head Coach at KING

4-time Olympian Milorad “Mike” Cavic, once the arch-rival of the world’s most decorated Olympian Michael Phelps, has been named the interim head coach at the King County Aquatic Club (KING) based in the metropolitan Seattle area.

He replaces Jay Benner, who was named the head coach at KING last year after Michael Brooks resigned the position in early 2018. Brooks left around the time that the club was sold as part of the fallout of the USA Swimming membership ban for the club’s former owner and CEO Sean Hutchison. Neither Benner nor Brooks lasted a full year in the position.

Cavic is most famous in the world of swimming as being the guy who lost to Phelps by in the 100 fly final at the 2008 Beijing Olympics by a margin so narrow that even a frame-by-frame replay of the finish still left the result in doubt. A year later, a public war-of-words between Phelps and Cavic resulted in Phelps winning the 100 fly again at the World Championships, in World Record fashion, with Cavic taking silver. Cavic won the 50 fly that year.

Cavic was born and raised in California but represented Serbia (as well as Serbia & Montenegro and Yugoslavia) in international competition. In total, he won 7 European titles in the 50 and 100 meter butterfly events before retiring after the 2012 Olympic Games.

The 34-year old has been involved in his fair share of controversy as an athlete, even when not related to his rivalry with Phelps. In 2008, he won the European Championship in the 50 fly in long course, and in the process set a new European Record. On the podium to receive is medal, Cavic wore a t-shirt that read “Kosovo is Serbia” in Cyrillic: a slogan used to protest Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia a month earlier. As punishment, he was disqualified from the remainder of his individual events at the meet by LEN, and the Serbian swimming federation was fined $10,800.

As a coach, Cavic joined the team in mid-2018 after a year spent as an assistant at LSU. He was originally hired to “lead/coordinate the Novice through Developmental 2 groups,” including creating a developmental pathway for the club. He also assisted Benner with the senior/national group.

We have reached out to both KING and Cavic for comment, but as of posting have not heard a response.

KING’s men’s team finished 11th and their women’s team finished 14th at last weekend’s Washington Open. In 2018, the men’s team won the meet and the women’s team placed 2nd.

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Why does he need to be reached for comment? What is he expected to comment on?


Definitely doesn’t need to to, but might not be a bad idea to add some clarity to the coaching changes (if it can help situation). The team isn’t looking very appealing right now. Lingering association with Sean (especially considering the current ownership), significantly declining performance (look up their vcc results, club excellence, and local championship meet results), multiple head coaches. Especially considering jay has been there less than a year. Doesn’t give off a stable vibe.

Listen up

I would disagree


Nobody ‘needs’ to comment. But when you’re the former assistant to a coach, and now promoted to head coach, of a swim club that was just purchased for a pile of money from an accused pedophile, is now struggling financially and competitively, your former boss was fired, the guy before him left in what can only be described as complete and total chaos…I dunno, I might say something about “what my vision for the program is” or “how I’m going to right the ship,” for fear that I’m going to be looking for a new job myself in 5-9 months.

Been There

It is always easy to speculate as to what is going on or not. I think he needs to comment for a lot of reasons. Not least of which is to clear up any belief that he might have been sabotaging his own head coach in a bid to move into the Head Coach position. There are people who know what really happened and when he comments they will know whether or his his response was accuarate.


Arch rival or just loudest rival?


I once asked a former Olympian at the Faster and Fitter camp about that race (who won the race, in his opinion) . I ll never forget the answer: “Everyone knows, but noone will tell it publicly”. Well, even Omega representative (Phelps’ sponsor, and official time keeper at the Olympics) admitted that Čavić touched the wall first (won) but did not trigger the sensor first (soft touch, anyone? ). Later, Čavić jabbed at Phelps at the World’s 2009, broke world record in the semis (50.01), but Phelps won the final and re-took the record (Phelps WR 49.82, Čavić 49.95). So, yes, for a few years Mile and Mike were head-to-head competitors at the top of the world at 100fly. Cavic… Read more »


Phelps won. The photos and timing all agree that Phelps won. Everything else is just noise.

Caeleb Dressel’s Bandana

I don’t believe Cavic could have broken 51 without a super suit. He was a fly and die guy, the suit helped you a lot on the back half. If Phelps ever had an arch nemesis, it was Lochte or Le Clos.




comment image


Hope he changed into a better guy


was he a bad guy before?

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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